Two giants of English history meet in a rare book

Matthew Hale’s annotated 1640 imprint of Matthew Paris’ Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major 

Georgetown Law Library recently acquired Sir Matthew Hale’s annotated copy of the 1640 imprint of one of the most significant medieval chronicle histories of England, Monachi Albanensis Angli Historia Major by the 13th century scholar, polymath, and member of the court of Henry III – Matthew Paris. Hale’s copy is copiously annotated throughout the sections covering the reign of Henry III with marginal references to significant Year Book cases and Parliamentary Acts.

Hale is one of the great jurists in the history of English law, serving as Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1660 to 1671, and then as Chief Justice of King’s Bench from 1671 until his death in 1676. He had earlier served as a justice of the Common Bench from 1653 to 1659 under the Cromwellian Commonwealth

In all likelihood, Hale used his copy of the Historia Major as a reference work in preparing his major works on English legal history – the Historia placitorum coronae [History of the Pleas of the Crown] and the History and Analysis of the Common Laws of England – two of the most respected works on the practice of English criminal law and on the history of English law well into the 19th century.  

To view these and other recent rare and historical acquisitions, contact Erin Kidwell in Special Collections, or visit us in Williams 210 M-F from 9am to 5pm. 





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